Marvelous honor for ACWA Power; Bags 2020 Global Water Award

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Water Desalinization Plant
Representational Image

Saudi Arabian power company ACWA Power has won the Global Water Award’s Desalination Plant of the Year honor for its 2nd expansion IWP project at Shuaiba 3 power and water complex in the Kingdom. 

The 250,000m3 per day, independently owned SWRO desalination facility forms part of the Shuaiba 3 power and water complex in Saudi Arabia and supplies potable water to meet the needs of more than one million residents in Jeddah, Mecca and Taif.

The $253 million facility was developed and is entirely owned by ACWA Power, with the Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) acting as the off-taker. Construction was carried out by a joint venture of Abengoa and Fisia Italimpianto and the plant is operated by ACWA subsidiary NOMAC. Equipment was supplied by Toray (high-pressure membranes), Torishima and Sulzer (pumps) and ERI (energy recovery devices).

As the first project to be successfully completed under the new wave of water privatization projects led by SWPC, the plant stands as a testament for PPP initiatives in Saudi Arabia, when the kingdom is looking to private finance to achieve its staggeringly ambitious water infrastructure goals.

As the first major infrastructure project to be 100% owned by the private sector in the Kingdom, it shows a market that is opening up even as it is increasing the pace of success.

Despite having to cope with a wide range of hostile operating conditions, careful design work by EPC contractors mean the plant is deftly optimized to balance the highest levels of efficiency while keeping to the stringent CAPEX requirements seen in today’s desalination market.

An ultra-compact design reduces footprint and unnecessary capital costs, while chemical dosing and post-treatment facilities are fine-tuned to keep the operating burden to a minimum.

The project was completed just 21 months after the signing of agreements with the client, a truly stunning achievement for a plant of this scale, complexity and importance, and a timeline that sets a standard for ambitious contractors across this industry.